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Emirates, Lufthansa, SWISS: Which airline is ranked best for first class?

Emirates, Lufthansa, SWISS: Which airline is ranked best for first class?

Whether you’re a frequent first class flyer, or a trip at the front of the plane is still firmly on your bucket list, a luxury flight is the best start to a trip.

​​New research has revealed the best luxury air travel experiences, with many of the top rated hailing from Europe.

The research looked at first-class experiences across different airlines, analysing factors like airport experience, legroom, cabin and seat quality, food and drink, onboard service and entertainment, as well as amenities and facilities.

They also focused on short and medium haul flights, scoring each factor out of 10, in order to discover the most luxurious airlines. Perhaps a little unusually, the study also looked into Instagram hashtags and TikTok views, which have a significant impact on the rankings. Here’s what their research revealed.

Which is the best airline for first class?

With an overall score of 7.12 out of 10, Slingo games company who conducted the research, put Emirates in first place as the best airline for flying first class.

The Dubai-based company scored highly on first-class legroom, with a minimum of 175cm.

It also received top scores for in-flight entertainment, beverages, amenities and facilities - and short and medium-haul experience.

Interestingly, Emirates also has the highest number of Instagram and TikTok posts associated with it, suggesting that passengers rate the first-class experience so highly that they’re willing to share their positive experiences online.

Coming in in second place is Lufthansa. The flagship German airline scored 5.99 out of 10, offering slightly less legroom than Emirates in first class, with a minimum of 162.5cm.

Despite falling down in that category, the carrier’s first-class airport experience, in-flight beverages and onboard service all came highly rated.

The Lufthansa first-class experience also received the second-highest number of Instagram and TikTok posts, with thousands of posts on each platform.

SWISS, the flag carrier of Switzerland, takes third place with a score of 5.14.

It scored a perfect ten for airport experience and in-flight amenities and facilities, but fell short on legroom, offering a minimum of 152.5cm in first class seats.

Slingo also discovered that, although SWISS is popular on TikTok, it’s less so on Instagram, with just 1,860 posts celebrating the airline’s first class experience.

First class seats and airport experiences: Which airlines are best?

While Emirates came in highest for overall first class experience, Cathay Pacific’s legroom offerings easily leapfrog the Dubai airline’s.

With some of the longest routes in the world, the minimum of 205cm will come in handy for long haul travellers.

When it comes to airport experience, three airlines were tied for having the best first class offerings. Lufthansa, SWISS and Qatar Airways all received a perfect score, meaning customers can enjoy a simple and comfortable experience before they even step foot on the plane.

When onboard the aircraft, there was no clear winner when comparing each airline's first class cabin and seat rating.

Almost every airline in the study scored nine out of a possible 10. “While first class seating can vary between airlines, they all provide their spin on luxury and comfort, with many now offering private booths with your very own bed space to lounge in while you fly,” Slingo experts explain.

Airline food: Which airline is best in first class?

No matter the length of your flight, if you’ve paid for a first class experience, food and drinks will matter to you.

In terms of cuisine onboard, both Qatar Airways and Japanese carrier ANA earned perfect scores. ANA is particularly impressive, offering up a seven-course meal that’s said to be on par with some of the best restaurants in Tokyo.

The best beverage service was jointly found to be between Lufthansa and Emirates. Both also received 10 out of 10 for their drinks service at 12,000 metres in the sky.

Lufthansa also scored perfectly, alongside ANA and Qatar Airways, for their first class in-flight service.

The study found that staff onboard paid particular attention to details and cabin crew were particularly attentive to the needs of their highest paying customers.

Emirates came in top in terms of both entertainment and amenities. While many of us dread the boredom of flying, research showed that the Dubai airline had the largest selection of films, TV shows, games and music as well as offering top quality complimentary amenities to make the journey more comfortable.

Even if your budget doesn’t stretch to first class luxury, you can get inspired by these services for your next flight - even if it’s the cheapest available!